Skip to main content

Questions tagged [shakespeare]

Questions relating to William Shakespeare, an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3 votes
2 answers
83 views

What is the name of this literary pattern used by Shakespeare? [duplicate]

In the balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says: O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? This is an almost identical structure to this line from Richard III: A horse, a ...
Jazza's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
2 answers
129 views

In Shakespeare, besides "ponderous and marble jaws," are there any similarly structured phrases?

There are better ways to word this question, I'm sure, but I can't think of any for some reason: my apologies. In Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4, the lead character speaks as follows: Let me not burst in ...
Ricky's user avatar
  • 20.4k
0 votes
1 answer
248 views

What does "an eater of broken meats" mean from this Shakespeare play?

In the clip below from King Lear, what does "an eater of broken meats" mean, what does he mean by that. I know it is derogatory and is most likely meant to refer to an awful person. ...
Ross Bush's user avatar
  • 131
16 votes
4 answers
2k views

What does "make the Iacke go" mean?

The introduction to the first folio has the phrase "make the Iacke go." The I is almost certainly a J, but I don't recognise the word/name Jacke. What could it mean? The text is given here ...
Simd's user avatar
  • 2,501
2 votes
0 answers
127 views

Which work of Shakespeare "oftentimes better than a master of one" appears in if it it accredited to him? [duplicate]

A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one is apparently accredited to William Shakespeare. Just to clarify - I mean the FULL quote, not just 'Jack of all ...
Ziarek's user avatar
  • 131
4 votes
1 answer
447 views

Seeking origin and original wording of a quotation attributed to Shakespeare

During a Pub quiz early this week a Shakespeare quote emerged in German translation, and I am keen to know the original wording and the work it stems from, or if it is possibly part of his notes. As ...
Hanno's user avatar
  • 143
0 votes
1 answer
77 views

Meaning of "bring them away" in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" (Act2, scene1)?

In act II, scene 1, of Measure for Measure, Elbow says: Elbow. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a Common-weale, that doe nothing but vse their abuses in common houses, I know no law :...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
2 votes
0 answers
77 views

Meaning of "Bore many gentlemen" in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure"? [closed]

In act I, scene 5, of Measure for Measure, Lucio says: Lucio. This is the point. The Duke is very strangely gone from hence; Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one) In hand, and hope of action: but ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Meaning of 'Thou shalt be pinched As thick as honeycomb, […].' in The Tempest

The Tempest, Act I, scene 2, lines 326-331: For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins Shall forth at vast of night that they may work All ...
user58319's user avatar
  • 4,112
1 vote
1 answer
52 views

What is meant by "to take the offence" in Act I, scene 1 of "Two Noble Kinsmen"?

In act I, scene 1, of The Two Noble Kinsmen, the first queen says: 1. Queen. We are 3. Queenes, whose Soveraignes fel before The wrath of cruell Creon; who endured The Beakes of Ravens, Tallents of ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
0 votes
1 answer
35 views

What does 'lay'd-on' mean in Camillo's speech (scene 3, act 5 of "The Winter's Tale")?

In act V, scene 3, of The Winter's Tale, Hermione says: Cam. My Lord, your Sorrow was too sore lay'd-on, Which sixteene Winters cannot blow away, So many Summers dry: scarce any Ioy Did euer so long ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

What is the rhetorical effect of this usage of Anastrophe in Shakespeare's Othello? [closed]

When reading Othello, I found many expressions using anastrophe. Some of them are just for the metre, but some are truly fancinating and I am not able to analyse them quite well. For example, in 2.3, ...
J. Wu's user avatar
  • 1
24 votes
2 answers
3k views

When did they shift from apostrophizing the past tense to using an "e"?

I'm reading some Shakespeare and noticing past tense verbs are written as deceiv'd and search'd etc rather than the modern deceived and searched. When did the shift take place in English to the modern ...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
169 views

What does "The by-gone-day proclaym'd" mean in scene ii, act I of The Winter's Tale?

In the second scene of The Winter's Tale, Hermione says: I had thought (Sir) to haue held my peace, vntill You had drawne Oathes from him, not to stay: you (Sir) Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

What does 'attorney' mean in this passage from The Winter's Tale

In The Winter's Tale, it is written: Cam. Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohe- mia: They were trayn'd together in their Child-hoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection, ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is an English term for "an event that triggers a chain of events, ultimately to downfall"? [duplicate]

I'm trying to incorporate more technical literary terms into my Macbeth revision for my upcoming exam. I've discovered terms such as Hamartia, Catharsis, Peripeteia, etc. What would be a good word to ...
Haroon's user avatar
  • 3
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Request for Grammatical Explanation of Shakespeare's Line [closed]

I am particularly looking for the grammatical explanation of the "hath ending" in the last line of the following stanza, why it's not "the world is ending"? Or if I say it means ...
Tayyab's user avatar
  • 39
3 votes
2 answers
244 views

Meaning of "office" as in "in the office of a wall"?

This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands. — Richard II, William Shakespeare. What'...
Sai Ma's user avatar
  • 41
0 votes
1 answer
224 views

The word "new" may be an Adverb or an Adjective

I am trying to understand this sentence where the word 'new' can both be an adverb and also an adjective. Can someone please help me explain the ambiguous structure and the meaning conveyed in the ...
Jonathan's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
798 views

"Will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month" - what does this "stand to" mean?

In Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 4, Mercutio departs with Benvolio, leaving Romeo to speak with Juliet's nurse, whom Mercutio has mocked and insulted. Nurse asks Romeo who this rude and raucous fellow ...
Zanna's user avatar
  • 319
-1 votes
2 answers
124 views

What does "a document in madness' exactly mean?

"A document in madness" A line of Laertes in Hamlet. And in my language, the word 'document' is translated as a lesson or message. I wonder if it is a liberal translation, or 'document' ...
yeonu Cho's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
148 views

Did the accent in "without" shift from the first syllable to the second in the past?

To be sure, the line from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, written in 1591, reads: There is no world with-OUT Verona walls. However, a passage in John Milton's Paradise Lost, written in 1667, ...
Ricky's user avatar
  • 20.4k
5 votes
1 answer
212 views

Was it common in Shakespeare's time for adverbial phrases and objects to precede the verb in spoken English?

I'm trying to come up with a list of differences between Shakespeare's manner of writing and modern English, and one of the big differences I've noticed is that Shakespeare often seems to put ...
Nathan Wailes's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
677 views

What does "carry't" mean?

What does "carry't" mean? I can't find a definition for it on the web. Here's an example of its use from Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice: What a full fortune does the thick-lips ...
Taf04k's user avatar
  • 87
2 votes
1 answer
260 views

What does "tenable" mean to Shakespeare?

Hamlet: If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight, Let it be tenable in your silence still, And whatsoever else shall hap to-night, Give it an understanding, but no tongue: Tenable seems a strange ...
Aerol Vin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
139 views

A Grammatical Question From A Text by Shakespeare- I couldn't understand- Please help

In Shakespeare's' As You Like It I have came across a challenging sentence. Without further ado, I am directly quoting the text: for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth that differs not ...
grammarian's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
247 views

"An" in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

In Act 1, Scene 1, Katherine says to Bianca, A pretty peat! It is best / Put finger in the eye, an she knew why". I understand "Put finger in the eye" means she is fake crying for ...
CuriousCat's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
2k views

What type of literary technique is the phrase 'star-crossed lovers' in 'Romeo and Juliet'?

My child has been asked this at school, and I suspect the teachers want the students to answer that it's a metaphor. However, I don't think it's a metaphor: surely Shakespeare, or at least the people ...
AmbroseChapel's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
440 views

Who coined "the eye of heaven"?

For the longest time I had always thought that Our great Bard had, with his poetic wonder, come up with "the eye of heaven" for his immortal, sonnet 18: Rough windes do ſhake the darling ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did Shakespeare really coin "Alligator"?

I have read many essays on the heavily debated subject of just how many words Our immortal Bard coined. I think it is safe to say, some of the words (and phrases) which are credited to him are ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
378 views

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows doth

The following is taken from the prologue of Romeo and Juliet. I'd like to know why the plural noun overthrows takes the third-person singular auxiliary doth. From forth the fatal loins of these two ...
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 1,879
0 votes
0 answers
101 views

Shakespeare's dubious rhymes [duplicate]

Background I'm reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, and a lot of the dialogues and monologues are rhymes. But some times, these rhymes aren't rhymes at all. For instance So should the murder'd look, ...
Alec's user avatar
  • 159
-2 votes
1 answer
261 views

“Thou doth protest too much”: changed usage? [closed]

I remember reading somewhere that the original meaning “thou doth protest too much, methinks” is often used nowadays to take “protest” literally, but this changes its original meaning. I can’t seem ...
Jake Ireland's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
448 views

Shakespeare’s Subjunctive

Shakespeare’s Macbeth famously says, “If it were done, when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly,” which I rearranged, according to my understanding, as, “‘Twere well it were done quickly, ...
David Marlowe's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
1k views

'MURDER" or "MURTHER" ? -- Question on when distinct (archaic) spellings for words were used and when not

Salutations, I am currently writing a play that is being regulated to the very distinct notions of authentically replicating the English language and its archaic spellings during its usage in London, ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
528 views

What's the etymology of 'blank verse'?

Shakespeare uses a lot of blank verse. I get it that there's no proper rhyme scheme, but there is meter. Why is it called "blank"?
user2775878's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
145 views

Why does Shakespeare let two or more actors finish a pentameter?

To complete the number of syllables in a pentameter Shakespeare (and other contemporaries) let multiple actors say a verse, like shown in Macbeth Were two actors complete a pentameter: DUNCAN: As ...
Andrea Rowlatt's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
317 views

Did Shakespeare use dactyls or dactilic meter?

While reciting "To be or not to be" recently, I discovered a rhythmic pattern that I hadn't really noticed before. At least to me, there seems to be quite a few dactyls, especially in the second half ...
obiwan's user avatar
  • 1
2 votes
3 answers
195 views

What does 'it' refer to in "come you more nearer than your particular demands will touch it"?

Apologies for the long title; I was led to understand it is better to be as specific as possible in titles, even if it makes them a little long. I'll edit it if people agree otherwise. In Shakespeare'...
Laura's user avatar
  • 121
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

Why "him" in "For neuer resting time leads Summer on / To hidious winter and confounds him there, ..." instead of it or her?

There is a passage in William's V sonnet that confounds me : For neuer resting time leads Summer on, To hidious winter and confounds him there, Sap checkt with frost and lustie leau's quite gon. ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
16 votes
5 answers
3k views

…down the primrose path

What is the origin of primrose used in the idiom primrose path, as defined by the Oxford Online Dictionary? primrose path The pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.8k
10 votes
4 answers
12k views

Where did Shakespeare get 'milk of human kindness' from?

In Shakespeare's 1606 play "Macbeth" the titular character is filled with ambition to become king. His wife, Lady Macbeth, says to him: Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk ...
Zebrafish's user avatar
  • 12.7k
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

Why there is no article before "heire"? [duplicate]

The following passage is from All's Well That Ends Well: Shee is young, wise, faire, In these, to Nature shee's immediate heire: And these breed honour: According to the research I did on Cambridge ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, does "square" mean "quarrel"?

When referring to dictionaries, there seems to be no such meaning as "quarrel" under the word "square", only "in agreement". But in II 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream, "square" in the following text ...
kimXU's user avatar
  • 169
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

Help understanding a sentence from "An Introduction to Mathematics", but it's about Shakespeare!

I'm reading Alfred North Whitehead's "An Introduction to Mathematics". I need help understanding a sentence at the beginning of the book: The study of mathematics is apt to commence in ...
Daniel B.'s user avatar
-4 votes
2 answers
1k views

An expression, idiom, or phrase meaning "I lied" or "they are lying" or "to tell a lie", etc? [closed]

Looking for an expression, idiom, or phrase that would indicate a lie is being told, or was told, etc. I will not be using this phrase as part of a sentence, so I can't give an example. I just ...
peabody2's user avatar
  • 105
0 votes
1 answer
4k views

What does this Much Ado quote mean, "I can see a church by day light'?

I was reading through Act 2 Scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing and I found this rather difficult to interpret because I am stuck between two meanings. LEONATO: Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. ...
bombompop's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does "thrice-blessed" mean in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Act 1 Scene 1? [closed]

There was a line in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Act 1 Scene 1 that says: "... Thrice-blessèd they that master so their blood To undergo such maiden pilgrimage." (Theseus) So, ...
Omega Krypton's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
817 views

How should I understand these lines from As You Like It?

I am currently on my second reading of As You Like It. I am having a really hard time comprehending lines 22-25 in Act 1, scene 2. Here are those lines as they appear in the version I am reading (The ...
user20561's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
4k views

Shakespeare's “say sooth” vs. “tell truth”

The noun sooth, pronounced /suːθ/, is now archaic and means ‘fact’,‘reality’ and ‘truth’. Its legacy persists in the words soothe /suːð/, and soothsayer meaning someone who sees the truth, a synonym ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.8k